by Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – This week has been a big one for the Minotauros off of the ice, and now with Austin in town the Tauros have a chance to cap the week with success on it. First, on Tuesday the NAHL Combat Hockey Top Prospects rosters were announced, and the Tauros placed seven players in the all-star event. Then on Wednesday afternoon Tyler Parks became the first Minotauro to commit to an NCAA D1 program when he committed to St. Lawrence. Wins over the first place Bruins this weekend would put an exclamation point on the week.
It will be a star studded affair at the Maysa this weekend, as the Tauros’ seven Top Prospects is topped only by Austin’s eight. While the Bruins come in with the third ranked offense in the NAHL with 3.80 goals per game, Tauros goalies Parks and Ryan Ruck have held the Bruins to just nine goals in five games. The duo has done that despite the Bruins sending 34.2 shots per game their way, which is also slightly below their average of 35.1 which is second best in the league. Of course, the Tauros have not faired much better offensively in the season set with just 10 goals over the five games. The difference, has been that the Tauros have taken three of the four shootouts from Austin as well as the only meeting to not go to overtime a 1-0 victory on December 1st. On the season the Tauros are 4-0-1 against the Bruins.
When Austin does score against the Tauros chances are C.J. Smith took the shot. Smith, who will be joining the Tauros Mason Morelli and Jake Clifford on the U18 Selects roster at Top Prospects, has three goals against the Tauros this season. NAHL leading scorer Brandon Whalin has two goals against the Tauros this season, while linemate A.J. Reid has posted a goal with three assists for a team best four points against Minot.
In net the Bruins feature a pair of Top Prospects goalies, Nick Lehr for team Dakota and Jason Pawloski on the U18 Selects. The tandem has posted a .938 SV% against the Tauros with Lehr playing four of the five meetings. The Tauros dynamic duo of Parks and Ruck has outdueled their Austin counterparts posting a .942 SV% with Parks getting four starts.
Offensively for the Tauros Steven Sherman has been a point-per-game player against the Bruins with two goals and three assists. Tauros leading scorer Jake O’Borsky also has a pair of goals against Austin to go with an assist. Zach Holstrom has been unstoppable of late with two goals and four assists in the last five games and Morelli has three goals including two game winners over the same span.
Both the Tauros and Bruins come in with top ranked power plays. Austin ranks atop the league with a power play that converts on 25% of it’s chances. Meanwhile at 19.4% the Tauros rank third in the NAHL. Despite the teams’ success on the power play neither has been especially effective when the two teams meet. Austin is 3-22 (13.6%) while the Tauros are 3-27 (11.1%).
Player to Watch: Jadin Martin, the Tauros all-time leading scorer has a goal and an assist in three games against the team he played for in the 2010/11 season. Last season he had two goals and three assists against his former team.
SRT Night: Friday night is SRT Night at the Maysa Arena. The first 500 fans will receive rally towels. There will be prize giveaways throughout the night, including a raffle for a Tauro’s jersey. After the game there will be a post game skate with the team, SRT will be distributing team photos which fans can get autographed during the skate.
Watch the Games: Puck drop on both nights is at 8:05 p.m. tickets for both games are still available by clicking the “tickets” tab atop this page. Buy and print your tickets at home to avoid the lines on gameday. If you can not make it to the Maysa, as always the game will be webcast on fasthockey.com, the exclusive on-line home of the NAHL.